L Stands for Love Unconditionally
As we work with individuals and families in an array of challenging circumstances, something that ties every situation together is the need that every person has for love. We often use the acronym BUILDER to help define some important components of relationships that promote healing. The ‘L’ stands for “Love Unconditionally.” Most of us seem to understand that love helps us in many ways, but why is it essential to healing and happiness?
Love is essential because it is part of who we are.
Psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Susan Johnson has reflected on her decades of research (2008), saying,
“love is the pinnacle of evolution, the most compelling survival mechanism of the human species…love drives us to bond emotionally with a precious few others who offer us safe haven from the storms of life” (p. 15).
Love offers emotional bonds that are essential to survival.
When our emotional bonds are threatened or destroyed, we feel threatened, insecure, and, frequently, even incapable of moving forward. Any challenges that come our way are more damaging and without loving relationships. Recovery from physical, mental, and emotional challenges is significantly impacted – or sometimes even made impossible – without the safe haven of secure attachment bonds.
Love is essential to healing.
To facilitate loving relationships, remember that you don’t have to perfectly understand what your loved one is experiencing to be able to extend love. In fact, when a loved one is struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, etc., you most likely will not understand what they are experiencing.
That’s OK. Love them anyway. Demonstrate love and empathy with words like these:
- “It must be really hard for you, but I am here for you.”
- “I don’t know exactly how to help, but I am willing to listen.”
- “I’m so grateful that you are willing to share these things with me. Let’s work through this together.”
With loving relationships, we can all become BUILDERs in the healing process.